A striptease

The brave decision taken this week is not a decision at all, it is still yes and no and a limp hand.

They want you to have pity on them - Jews, have mercy, have mercy. In a sensual yet halting striptease act, they shed garment after garment from their bodies and invite the public to view their exposed organs, their broken or torn heart, their churning belly and tearful eyes.

And on that fateful night, the prime minister could not get a good night's sleep. It was not quite clear to him where he stood with Kadima MKs Eli Aflalo and Ronit Tirosh, whether or not they would defect.

To those who are shedding tears, we will gently offer a used handkerchief. To those who have a stomachache, we suggest they run to the nearest toilet. It is not the gut that is meant to make decisions but the head. It is not for the flock to check with innocent eyes the painful distortions of those who lead it; it is not the duty of the public to smell the droppings that their representatives leave along the Via Dolorosa.

The arrangement must be the opposite: The representatives are supposed to have pity on those who elect them, and the leaders are the last ones who should have the right to put into effect the mechanisms of psychological extortion.

After all, it is precisely for this purpose that they were chosen - to make decisions, and not merely on a tax on the horns of an oryx or a levy on lice eggs.

After all, this is the mission they have wanted their whole lives - to make decisions about people's fates, on issues of war and peace. However, every time a tomato or a cucumber upsets the balance on the scale, and a Knesset member shouts out like a market hawker, the people are asked to take part in the discomfort and grief of the ministers.

It is not their fate that is bitter but the fate of the victims of their policies. The right to cry is the sole right of the Shalit family and not the forum of seven vultures. Don't for a moment think that we did not notice the flock flying outside the window of the meeting room, circling over the heads of the dying Kadima party, and that everything has suddenly become so quiet and personal.

The circumstances have forced the seven to make a "courageous decision," though it is not clear what is more courageous - adopting the deal or rejecting it; we don't have the latest survey yet.

What relevance does "courage" have here anyway if the decision was made over three years ago?

The reality of life and death is decided, and it is merely awaiting the official seal from those who are pretending to decide. It will continue to wait because the courageous decision that was taken this week is not a decision at all, it is still yes and no and a limp hand.

But what does it matter whether big or small murderers are released; every person who spills blood is a big murderer. And what does it matter if he remains here or is exiled there, as if it weren't possible to plan a terrorist attack remotely and pass on instructions on how to carry it out. It's possible even from inside prison.

It was not saving Gilad that was discussed this week - a discussion drowning in crocodile tears - but rather saving face. How does one swallow the unrealistic and vanishing principles on which one built an entire career until the premiership, and how does one feed them to the nation so they can digest them without throwing up?

To this end, one has to enlist the heart and the eyes and the belly. Or as Brazilian Jewish author Clarice Lispector wrote: "It is easier to be a saint than a human being."